Wednesday 6 October 2010

Una cena tra amici

Many people ask me if I feel homesick here in England. The answer is no, and I actually

"…like the weather, when it is not rainy –
That is, I like two months of every year."

Italy is a strange country these days, ruled by a clownish dictator and no longer the homestead of Dantes, Cavalcantis, Petrarchs, Ariostos and Tassos – so I don't suffer from any kind of nostalgia at the moment.

England on the other hand gives me a lot of pleasure, especially old, green England. I drove past Stonehenge the other day – now, what is older than that in Europe? Visiting the village of Shaftesbury and Sherborne Castle on a sunny day, visiting the ruins of a Saxon building and sitting on a bench and looking at the same unspoilt landscape that Alexander Pope must have seen in 1724, made me really feel at home, even if Italian blood runs in my veins.

But what made me – and Elisabetta and our children – feel even more at home here was a wonderful evening of fun, laughter and great conversation at Phoebe and Lindsay Clarke's 17th-century atmospheric town house in Frome, in the company of Peter Benson and his wife Valery. We ate fish and chips, drank The Usual (delivered in a four-pint milk plastic bottle by a small pub in Milk Street – how appropriate), saw Emiliano go astraddle Lindsay's strong shoulders, Elisabetta tumble right in the heart of the medieval town and Eleonora produce some of her best drawings to date, admired Phoebe's excellent pottery, talked about past and present literature, discovered that at least three anagrams of Lindsay Clarke's name are well-known writers, etc. etc.

Life rarely gives you more: a lovely country, a ray of sunshine, some good friends and a loving family.

I think I'm going to apply for an English passport next year. . .


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